New allegations surface
Japan’s scandal-tainted national sport of sumo wrestling is facing new allegations that senior wrestlers used cellphones to plan how to fix matches. Japanese media reported yesterday that police have found suspicious text messages on several wrestlers’ cellphones suggesting they were planning to fix bouts and going so far as to detail how one would attack and how he wanted his opponent to fall. The text messages, found on the phones of wrestlers in sumo’s second-highest division, indicate that the wrestlers routinely fixed bouts and charged hundreds of thousands of yen per match to do so, Japan’s Kyodo news service said. Several wrestlers were arrested last year for betting illegally on baseball games, allegedly with gangsters as go-betweens. Kyodo said the text messages this time were found on phones confiscated when police were investigating the baseball gambling ring.
Ex-minister joins Black Cats
Former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband was named non-executive vice chairman of Premier League club Sunderland on Tuesday. Arsenal fan Miliband, who is the Labour Party MP for the neighboring constituency of South Shields, had talks over the role with Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn last month. Reports suggest he will be paid a ￡50,000 (US$80,000) salary and Quinn said: “We are delighted and honored to welcome David to Sunderland and I am certain he can bring an extra dimension to us as a club. He is already a great champion of our ethos of community involvement and will be a fabulous asset on this front. Adding David to our board in a non-executive capacity provides us with someone who possesses a different spectrum in envisaging how the club can grow.” Miliband lost out to his brother, Ed, in the battle to become Labour leader after last year’s general election.
Blanc ignores minister’s call
France coach Laurent Blanc says he will call up whoever he wants for next week’s friendly against Brazil, despite a call from his country’s sports minister for a ban on the players who went on strike at last year’s World Cup. Blanc told regional newspaper Midi Libre that Chantal Jouanno had the right to her opinion on the matter, but added that he remained “totally free” in his choices. France’s players were accused of being a disgrace to their country after going on strike at last year’s tournament. They boycotted a training session in protest at Nicolas Anelka being sent home by team management after his profanity-laced tirade against then-coach Raymond Domenech during a 2-0 loss to Mexico.
Lazio halt Milan title charge
Lazio produced a spirited rearguard action to hold Serie A leaders AC Milan to a 0-0 draw at the San Siro on Tuesday. Lazio came into the match in third place in the league and knowing that a defeat would almost certainly rule them out of the title running and although the hosts dominated throughout, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic hitting both posts with a single shot, they could not find a way through the Romans’ stubborn resistance. Massimiliano Allegri, the Milan coach, said his side had deserved to come away with three points. “We rushed too much in the first half, Lazio defended very well but they didn’t have a single shot on goal,” he said. “We had several good chances, especially Ibra hitting the posts. The lads played a good game and deserved the win but this is football.”